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John Rennie Sr

John Rennie Sr, by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey, 1818 -NPG 649 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

John Rennie Sr

by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey
30 1/2 in. (775 mm) high
NPG 649

Inscriptionback to top


This portraitback to top

The bust was commissioned in 1818, possibly to mark the completion of Waterloo Bridge: 'Jan 1. Recd an Order from John Rennie Esq. Civil Engineer for his Bust in marble' (Sir Francis Chantrey’s Ledgers of Accounts, p 58). The plaster model is Ashmolean Museum (623-111). The marble itself, finished with some speed, was ready for the RA exhibition in May 1818, described by Hazlitt in 1822 as 'a fine architectural head' (Works, vol.18, p 170). Cunningham called it one of 'Mr Chantrey's finest busts … by many reckoned his masterpiece' (Blackwood's Magazine, April 1820, p 7).
Plaster casts are in Scottish NPG (544) the Athenaeum Club, etc. A tracing by Sir George Scharf is in NPG Reference Collection. A marble copy by Henry Fehr 1897 is in the Institution of Civil Engineers collection, and copies were made by Brucciani & Co in 1910.

Provenanceback to top

Commissioned by Rennie himself and given by his grandson John Keith Rennie 1881.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1818 (1072); Edinburgh 1822; Manchester 1857 (17); 'Sir Francis Chantrey', NPG, 1981 (18).

Reproductionsback to top

Mezzotint by S. W. Reynolds undated, examples in British Museum and V&A Museum (Alfred Whitman, S. W. Reynolds, 1903, 245); stipple by Thomson from a drawing by Corbould published by Fisher in Imperial Magazine 1821.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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